I planned with my dentist to get upper and lower overdentures in phases. I would get the new dentures fitted for implants in six months. The problem is that my lower denture doesn’t work well. When I chew, I can feel myself biting down on my gums in the area where I had wisdom teeth, and I expressed my concern when my dentist checked my bite. I have so much anxiety about this. I have an appointment with my dentist next week to discuss it, but his mood is unpredictable, so I don’t know what to expect. Will I need new dentures? Shouldn’t the denture go back farther? Thanks. Tasha
Although removable dentures are somewhat uncomfortable for most people, they should not affect your chewing, as you described.
How Far Back in Your Mouth Should a Denture Fit?
A denture should fit at least to the area of extracted wisdom teeth, if not to the retromolar pad, just beyond the wisdom teeth. However, a denture covering too much of the retromolar pad can interfere with your upper and lower denture.
What If a Denture Is Too Short?
If a denture is too short and does not extend far enough in your mouth, your dentist must take new impressions of your mouth and redo the denture. If you have already paid the dentist, he may resist your request for a refund. Also, consider that your dentist may not understand your concerns and how to correct them. Still, you can express your dissatisfaction, even getting a second opinion from another dentist to gather evidence of a faulty dental impression.
How to Ensure a Denture Extends Back Enough
A dentist who wants to ensure your denture extends far enough in your mouth will begin with a preliminary impression. A stock tray for denture impressions will register the retromolar area behind extracted wisdom teeth. A dentist will make an accurate impression by gently pinching your cheek and asking you to move your tongue.
Compare the pictures on this page of a denture impression tray versus a dental impression tray for natural teeth. The denture impression tray has these benefits:
- Extends farther back in your mouth to register the retromolar area
- Registers as much of the lower jaw as possible
- Helps the denture extend as far back as possible, increasing stability
If you don’t have success with your dentist, consider getting a second opinion from an advanced cosmetic dentist. You may need a new denture to get a proper fit for dental implants. If you need to pay for a new denture, speak with a new dentist and periodontist about an overdenture or All-on-4 dental implants.
Dr. David Pumphrey, an Atlanta periodontist, sponsors this post.